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Heidies bearing gifts

Peter Peacock is rapidly acquiring a reputation for ministerial longevity - despite holding his Holyrood education portfolio for a mere two years.

This causes the odd dilemma for organisations that invite Peacock along to give them a pep talk. The august Headteachers' Association of Scotland is a case in point. Its practice has been to hand over a limited edition of HAS whisky glasses, but the minister had already acquired the full set over three previous chats with them when he arrived to deliver his keynote speech at the association's spring conference.

So what to do? Simple: they gave him a bottle of whisky to go with the crystal - Balvenie, to be precise. Cheers.

Mindful of the rules on ministerial conduct, Peacock expressed the hope that his gifts did not amount to more than pound;250 in value.

Reflecting the native generosity for which his country is renowned, HAS president Lindsay Roy exclaimed: "There's not a cat in hell's chance of that" - or words to that effect.

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